Counterpoint: Rhythm and Meaning in Milton and Hopkins

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In a journal entry written in March of 1870, Gerard Manley Hopkins described a sunset sky visually disordered by the sun itself. It was was “out of gauge” with the surrounding clouds and bands of color, blunting them by its brightness. But when he took the sun as the centerpiece, a scene fell “into scape” around it.1 His shift in focus brought the sky into visual coherence. A letter to R.W. Dixon nearly eight years later announces a similar recentering in respect to another kind of disarray. Writing of the famously rhythmically free choruses of Milton’s Samson Agonistes, whose variability continues to challenge attempts at prosodical classification, Hopkins made an extraordinary claim: “each line (or nearly so) has two different coexisting scansions.”2 The very metrical ambiguities that critics were (and still are) so keen to resolve were for him the expression of a principle governing the lines. He called it “counterpoint” or, more formally, “Counterpointed Rhythm.” Although he left us no scansions of Milton’s closet drama, and despite the great care he took in matters of prosody, we can safely question the breadth of his claim. However metrically various the choral sections of Samson Agonistes may be, many admit of clear scansions. That nearly each line displays this doubleness is therefore questionable. Nonetheless, ambivalent lines of the kind Hopkins describes do appear. Robert Bridges, also the recipient of a letter from Hopkins on the subject of Milton’s late meters, cataloged many of them in Milton’s Prosody, which clearly displays the influence of his friend’s remarks. Whether or not Hopkins would have assented to his friend’s scansions remains unanswerable, but his idea of counterpoint remains suggestive, even granting its more limited applicability. For it counts, this essay argues, as Hopkins’s foray into an abiding debate about how regular (or regularizable) Milton’s late verse was, and about the relation of its music to its meanings.

I. What did Hopkins Mean by “Counterpoint?”

In order to understand what Hopkins was saying about Milton, it is crucial to understand what he meant by “counterpoint,” and its meaning is not entirely stable. The technique Hopkins theorized in his prose and applied in his own poems overlaps but does not coincide with the principle he claims to have found at work in the choruses of Samson Agonistes . His final notion of “Counterpointed Rhythm,” set forth in the “Author’s Preface” he attached to a manuscript of his poems, was quite a bit more programmatic than that which he elaborated in the letters to Bridges (1877) and Dixon (1878). This is unsurprising, as the “Preface” distills much that is dispersed throughout his correspondence. Intended as a sort of prosodical guide for the perplexed, it brings the the overall shape of his peculiar system of prosody into view, the two major divisions of which are “Running Rhythm” and his signature “Sprung Rhythm.”

Lines in “Running Rhythm” can be scanned according to the two- and three-syllable metrical feet of standard English prosody: rising iambs and anapests, falling trochees and dactyls, level spondees. But there is an important caveat: the base rhythm of these lines is always rising. Trochees and dactyls appear in them, but only as variations. Hopkins also called “Running Rhythm” “common rhythm,” underscoring both its identity with the ordinary rhythmic tendencies of English verse and its difference from “Sprung Rhythm.” The latter involves solely falling feet but recognizes a new one—the “first paeon,” one stressed syllable followed by three unstressed—as well as a monosyllabic foot consisting of a single stress. Counterpointed Rhythm falls midway between Running and Sprung. It results from what Hopkins terms rhythmic “mounting,” the reversal of at least two adjacent feet in an otherwise “Running” line. As opposed to, for instance, the use of just one trochee at the start of an iambic pentameter, long-acknowledged as an acceptable variation, two in a row create a counter-rhythm,

since the new or mounted rhythm is actually heard and at the same time the mind supplies the natural or standard foregoing rhythm, for we do not forget what the rhythm is that by rights we should be hearing, two rhythms are in some manner running at once and we have something answerable to counterpoint in music.3

Hopkins marked counterpointed feet in his manuscripts with a swirl resembling a sideways S. It appears over the start of the fifth line of “God’s Grandeur:” “Generations have trod, have trod, have trod.” Hopkins would have us read this memorable (and deeply Hopkinsian) line “Gen-er | a-tions | have trod, | have trod, | have trod.” The pair of trochees that make up the first word stand in counterpoint to the last three iambs. Counterpoint could also occur in the middle of a line. The third and fourth feet of the ninth line of “In the Valley of Elwy” offer an ambiguous example: “Lovely the woods, waters, meadows, combes, vales.”4 Thus he would have us read it: “love-ly | the woods, | wa-ters, | mea-dows | combes, vales.” Beginning with a trochee and ending with a spondee, this is already a fairly irregular “Running” line before Hopkins adds the counterpoint. But what really matters are the two further trochees—“waters, meadows”—which are more than the otherwise (technically) rising rhythm could bear and remain unambiguously so. We will return to such lines, but for now we need only note that Hopkins uses his term to name and absorb these kinds of metrical irregularities into a larger notion of regularity, one according to which they sound, not awkward or mistaken, but positively expressive.

There is significant daylight between Hopkins’s formalized use of Counterpoint and what he claims to have heard in Milton, whom he names the “great master” of such verse in the “Preface:”

the choruses of Samson Agonistes are written throughout in it—but with the disadvantage that he does not let the reader clearly know what the ground-rhythm is meant to be and so they have struck most readers as merely irregular. And if in fact you counterpoint throughout, since one only of the counter rhythms is actually heard, the other is really destroyed or cannot come to exist and what is written is one rhythm only and probably Sprung rhythm.5

The absence of a “ground-rhythm” together with the tendency toward Sprung Rhythm are the hallmarks of Hopkins’s descriptions of Samson Agonistes’s choral sections. These are “intermediate between counterpointed and sprung rhythm,” Hopkins elaborates in the letter to Bridges, because

Milton keeps up a fiction of counterpointing the heard rhythm (which is the same as the mounted rhythm) upon a standard rhythm which is never heard but only counted and therefore really does not exist. The want of metrical notation and the fear of being thought to write mere rhythmic or (who knows what the critics might not have said?) even unrhythmic prose drove him to this.6

The later letter to Dixon attaches a caveat, then proceeds to pure speculation about what Milton knew:

when you reach that point the secondary or ‘mounted rhythm’, which is necessarily a sprung rhythm, overpowers the original or conventional one and then this becomes superfluous and may be got rid of; by taking the last step you reach simple sprung rhythm. Milton must have known this but had reasons for not taking it.7

A too continuous counterpointing will make itself inaudible by drowning out the rhythm it counters. It will simply become Sprung Rhythm. Yet Hopkins heard something in the Chorus’s lines, a “fictive” standard rhythm that sustained them as counterpointed and kept them from becoming “simply sprung.” And Bridges heard it, too. He allowed that it required extremely sensitive hearing in his response to Hopkins’s letter,8 the language of which echoes in Bridges’s still relevant Milton’s Prosody: “where the ‘iambic’ system [of Samson Agonistes] seems entirely to disappear, it is maintained as a fictitious structure and scansion, not intended to be read, but to be imagined as a time-beat on which the free rhythm is, so to speak, syncopated, as a melody.”9 In Bridges’s case, we quite helpfully have access to actual scansions. Consider the last lines of the Chorus’s first long speech:

For him I reckon not in high estate
Whom long descent of birth
Or the sphere of fortune raises;
But thee whose strength, while virtue was her mate,
Might have subdued the earth,
Universally crowned with highest praises (170–75)10

The Danites of the Chorus have come upon Samson lamenting his blindness and weakness by the mill in Gaza, and they are incredulous at his state. Given his prior martial glory, his current predicament scans as that much more abject, an asymmetry reflected in the Chorus’s dwelling on so many of his victories and his superiority to common people, however fortunate. In terms of their form, these lines can be read as an isolated sestet, two linked tercets rhyming ABC-ABC to close out the speech. Each tercet slides alike from pentameter to trimeter to something altogether murkier. “For him I reckon not in high estate” is easily iambic and leads to the further iambs of “Whom long descent of birth.” But “Or the sphere of fortune raises” raises problems. Bridges scans it as trochaic, beginning with an unusual but not improbable stress on “or:” “or the | sphere of | for-tune | rais-es.”11 Or we might hurry across the conjunction and preserve the rising movement of the previous line in a slightly anapestic trimeter: “or the sphere | of for– | tune raises.” Line 173 recovers the pentameter, 174 the trimeter (with the acceptable variation of a reversed first foot: “might have | sub-dued | the earth”), and then the narrowing from five to three is again interrupted. More so than its counterpart at the first tercet’s end, “Universally crowned with highest praises” is prosodically ambiguous, and can be read to contain the competing scansions that Hopkins described. “Or” tends not to take stress because it is a conjunction, therefore it sustains the scanning of an initial anapest. But the first syllable of “Universal” is harder to quiet. Bridges’s perfectly plausible scansion is “U-ni| ver-sal- | ly crowned | with high– | est praises.”12 It both balances on the cusp of an even more falling line— “U-ni| ver-sal- ly | crowned with | high-est | praises,” and competes against a more hurried but still reasonable “Un-i-ver | sal-ly crowned | with high– | est Praises.” Two anapests and two iambs makes for a loose but nonetheless rising line.

Bridges directs special attention to this line and its fellows as examples of a “most peculiar rhythm”13 attained by “inversions,” the presence of at least two trochees at the start of a line. Read side by side with line 175, “Irresistible Samson? whom unarmed” (126), “That invincible Samson, far renowned” (341) and the wonderful “Irrecoverably dark, total eclipse” (81)14 provoke the same question about the stress-worthiness of their initial syllables, and thus the same wavering between anapestic and oddly trochaic verse. If we read them as Bridges does, with inversions giving way to iambic regularity, they are prosodically identical to the “counterpointed” parts of Hopkins’s poems. “Generations have trod, have trod, have trod” has the same “peculiar rhythm.” Despite his specified scansion, which counts the first syllable of “Generations” as stressed, “Gen-er-a– | tions have trod, | have trod, | have trod” remains a natural emphasis. Heeding Hopkins’s prosodical wishes here does not stop us from lingering over the uncertainty of this line, especially since it was the coexistence of differing scansions he found masterful in Milton. But the fact of his insistence on specific scansions, in “God’s Grandeur” and his other counterpointed poems, indicates the more circumscribed use of the technique in his own work. Hopkins wants us to hear trochees against iambs, a clash of standard English feet in one line, and not two mutually exclusive lines coexisting uncertainly. To this end, he supplies in manuscripts the very “metrical notation” that, as he had speculated to Bridges, Milton had lacked. This formalization of counterpoint separates it from its hazier, Miltonic variant, in which the standard, rising rhythm is overpowered by falling feet, but nonetheless lingers spectrally on, “never heard but only counted.” What is “fiction” in Milton becomes audible fact in Hopkins’s more exacting counterpoint, which aims to bring speculation about the rhythms of his lines to an end. He simply tells us how to hear them.

Of Samson Agonistes’s choruses, Milton tells us that their verse “is of all sorts” and does not respect the strophic movements of conventional Greek tragedy, a description that has rather spurred than deterred prosodic investigation.15 Peculiar (and perhaps perverse) as it is, Hopkins’s ascription of counterpoint to this verse is one in a long line of attempts to cross what John Leonard Miltonically describes as a “Serbonian bog of prosodic analysis.”16 Leonard is referring primarily to Paradise Lost, the metrical rocks, caves, lakes, and fens of whose lines have tried centuries of critics. Samson Agonistes has a different and perhaps even more formidable landscape: its lines are rhythmically various to a degree that defies conventional prosody. In this context, what function might Hopkins’s fiction serve? What feature of the verse does it pick out?

II. What Could Counterpoint Mean in Milton?

Concentrated and systematized, Hopkins’s notion of Counterpointed Rhythm supports Helen Vendler’s claim that “the beautiful was dangerous, irregular, and binary” for him. Sprung Rhythm, on her account, was meant to reflect this by allowing for an alternation between dense buildups of single-stress feet and runs of more-than-dactylic airiness.17 Counterpoint appears as a first step toward this tactic. Hopkins held to the conventions of accentual-syllabic verse so as to vary them unconventionally in an early attempt to represent the irregularity and abruptness of beauty’s eruptions in the world. The new generations of “God’s Grandeur,” and the hope they embody for new, more attentive attitudes toward creation, appear suddenly against a backdrop of monotonous plodding. Level waters and meadows contrast with the depths of Elwy’s woods, combes, and vales. Such alternations, which Hopkins captured in perhaps his favorite word, “dappled,” are of a piece with even the standard meaning of counterpoint. So, too, are the larger motions of many his poems. Seamus Heaney, a great admirer, once likened a sonnet of Hopkins’s to “a broken arch, with an octave of description aspiring toward conjunction with a sestet of doctrine,” a charge that could apply to a number of his best-known works.18 Vendler defends him against it: the tendency to “spread receptively,” overloading all descriptive rifts with ore, “and then hammer sensation into intellectual shape” was not a tic but the “law of Hopkins’s entire being.”19 He worked to transpose surprise—if not shock—at the beauties of the world into a theological register, forging a new rhythm to help him do it.

Milton, by Hopkins own admission, did rather the opposite. Rather than imagistic richness, he “excels in phrasing, in sequence of phrase and sequence of feeling on feeling. Milton is the great master of sequence of phrase,” Hopkins wrote in a letter.20 R.W. Dixon, again his interlocutor, glossed these formulations in assent: Milton’s verse is like “a deliberate unrolling, as if of some vast material, which is all there already, and to which the accident of the moment in writing can add nothing: a material which his mighty hands alone can grasp, unroll, & display.”21 The terms of their exchange suggest the syntactic propulsion that even the most vehement critic of Milton (T.S. Eliot, perhaps22) must acknowledge as a great strength of his verse. They also portray a poet beyond surprises or doubts, his material whole and ready beforehand, a portrayal that sits uneasily with the jagged surfaces of Samon Agonistes. Its verse seems effortful in a way that that of Paradise Lost, even at its most knotted, does not, and its meanings much more ambivalent. A weight of haze presses upon it. As opposed to Paradise Lost and Regained, Milton’s tragedy furnishes us with neither a narrator nor a literal God’s eye view. We are left, along with the characters, to speculate about Samson’s state and the divinity of his inclinations toward gentile women and, ultimately, toward the temple. Yet we also know how the story ends, and our foreknowledge stabilizes our belief in this unrevealed orderliness of events. As Stanley Fish argues, Milton presents

the experience of disorientation and confusion within a public and authoritative framework …we begin by believing in the framework, and in the course of the play our belief is strengthened by our ability to predict events, even if we cannot understand them when they occur. In other words, our foreknowledge, which generates expectations so that the poem can disappoint them, is at the same time proof of the stability called into question by those disappointments.23

A global certainty constantly beset with convincing local ambiguities is among the achievements of Samson Agonistes, one captured in the image of the protagonist leaning against the columns in the Philistian temple, “with head a while inclined /…as one who prayed, / Or some great matter in his mind revolved” (1636–39). Is his final act of violence, knocking down the packed Philistian temple, premeditated, stumbled into, or divinely guided, and how can we tell? The gesture is only one instance of how the play unsettles and so energizes its “authoritative framework” through a purely human view of events. The stable framework becomes an article of faith, but unstably, in a way that allows mystery to attend upon and enliven what is foreordained.

Prosodically, the choruses present us with a similarly unsettling energy. We might say, adapting Fish, that their disappointments of our metrical expectations negatively confirm the latter’s existence. As Hopkins is surely right to point out, the amount of disappointment—the metrical variety on offer—muffles any sense of what we think we should hear. A ground rhythm is hard even to hold in mind. Let us return to the Chorus’s first speech, this time adding a few more lines for context.

O mirror of our fickle state,
Since man on earth unparalleled!
The rarer thy example stands,
By how much from the top of wondrous glory,
Strongest of Mortal Men,
To lowest pitch of abject fortune thou art fallen.
For him I reckon not in high estate
Whom long descent of birth
Or the sphere of fortune raises;
But thee whose strength, while virtue was her mate,
Might have subdued the earth,
Universally crowned with highest praises (166–75)

Even without sedulously attending to the meters of these lines, we can hear and even simply see their unsteadiness, how they expand and contract. But to this fluctuation in length is added a tendency toward end-stoppage and rhyme that isolates the lines from one another. John Creaser notes that, in comparison with Paradise Lost, the sentences of Samson are shorter and the lines less enjambed, and the verse becomes more accumulative than propulsive as a result.24 We hear it more readily as lines, less as verse paragraphs whose syntax overflows and so softens their lineation. Combined with the variations in length and meter, this tendency toward separation becomes the source of much rhythmic confusion. For instance, interjected between “By how much from the top of wondrous glory,” a passable pentameter, and the metrically woolly “To lowest pitch of abject fortune thou art fallen,” the irregular trimeter “Strongest of Mortal Men” catches the ear more readily. Its reversed first foot becomes more audible, sounds more irregular, both because the line is so brief and because it is cut off from the previous line by a comma. “Strongest” is almost as destabilizing as two trochees would be in a pentameter line. And as soon as our ears adjust to this jagged rhythm, the verse stretches back out. Read without elisions, the next line is thirteen syllables long, and its rhythm differs noticeably from the other extended line in the trio. Hopkins must have had such stretches of irregularity in mind when he wrote that Milton kept the basic rhythms from the reader. And when we arrive at the “peculiar” lines after these rough patches, we find the standard by which we might decide them attenuated.

In such an unstable rhythmic context, regularity itself devolves into an assumption, albeit one that has proven hard to avoid. It is here that Hopkins’s notion of a prosodical “fiction” begins to gain purchase. In his shadow, Bridges claimed that Milton’s constant inversions and varying line-lengths (and a complicated system of elisions) allowed for dactylic effects without actual dactyls; that is, he imparted to the verse a falling, trisyllabic quality while really using only disyllabic feet.25 Much more recently, Janel Mueller has turned to contemporary theories in linguistics about the interplay of syntactic boundaries between words, phrases, and clauses to account for the intricacies of its structure.26 Clearly, Samson Agonistes stands at the bounds of what “common” prosody can put in order, if not beyond them, and thus makes prosody-based arguments about meaning difficult. And yet frameworks like Bridges’s and Mueller’s are marshaled to sift subtle regularities and moments of mimesis from the shifting prosodic sands. Mueller, for instance, reads the features of the Chorus’s lines—unpredictable meters and line-lengths, intermittent rhyme—as indicating its basic unreliability. Vacillating lines reveal its moral seriousness as sententiousness; its easy rhymes offer only the shallowest of closure.27 Stilted speech reflects contrived wisdom, as these men mull Samson’s predicament as effectively as Job’s friends mulled Job’s, their unregulated meters telegraphing their basic ignorance.

But there is another, more charitable reading, one Fish gestures at in noting that “comprehensibility is what the chorus above all else desires.”28 Like Samson himself in the play’s first lines, urging someone—God, an unnamed interlocutor, himself?—“A little onward lend thy guiding hand / To these dark steps, a little further on” (1–2), the Chorus pushes forth into an acknowledged darkness. Its lines are stepwise and exploratory, honest attempts to reckon with mystification. Later speeches, such as that beginning at line 667 (“God of our fathers, what is man!”) grapple explicitly with divine inscrutability, while others participate in a motif of uncertainty, of earthly words and entities drifting in and out of visual and sonic clarity. After the speech on fortune, Samson says “I hear the sounds of words, their sense the air / Dissolves unjointed ere it reach my ear” (176–77), and later the Chorus describes Dalila’s mere approach as the progression of a bare and moving shape from fish to woman to known individual. This is a world of blurred edges, and the chorus is neither pretentious nor especially dense, but rather doing its best to bring things into focus. The longing after regularity its lines provoke in us is also immanent to the poem.

Consider again the two rhyming lines of the embedded sestet, “Or the sphere of fortune raises,” and “Universally crowned with highest praises.” The first expresses a conventional doubt about the beneficiaries of fortune, who only seem to have risen in the world. True accession to “high estate” involves virtue, godliness of the kind Samson once so effortlessly and undeniably displayed. Yet now he languishes in abjection, and we can hear in the metrical wobble of the last line the scruple in its conviction. Is Samson better off than the normal mortal, well-born or otherwise fortunate, because of his God-given power? Or worse for having fallen so far below his (once) universally praiseworthy station? The attempt to make sense of Samson unevenly exults or degrades him. And like a sonic version of the duck/rabbit diagram, the either falling or rising rhythms project the same ambivalence. The Chorus strains earnestly toward, but cannot quite grasp, conceptually or prosodically, an order dissolving just out of reach. They enact Gordon Teskey’s observation that Samson Agonistes’s tangle of heterogeneous codes—Homeric, Greek-tragic, Jewish, Christian—creates a kind of noise of mutual exclusions: there is no “view from nowhere” from which to descry the correct ethos, only a constant and troubled selection, in which each choice is made “according to a principle that the other way (the other wrong one) defines.”29 Parsing the poem in their wake presents us with the same problem, and it is this problem that Hopkins’s notion of Miltonic counterpoint, with its attendant “fiction,” names.

If anything in criticism of Milton answers to Vendler’s claim about the “law” of Hopkins’s being, it is Fish’s assertion that obedience to God, the “prime and trumping value in every situation,” is for Milton a matter of internal conviction, one pointedly “not available to external confirmation or disconfirmation,” and not externally produceable, either, but dependent upon already settled beliefs.30 The “priority of the inside” (and simply of the prior) is surely a debatable thesis, but it also seems powerfully descriptive of Samson Agonistes, which plays out in the space between “a deep truth always present” to its characters (and its audience) and “the appearances and surfaces that seem to be, or seek to be, divorced from” that truth.31 Certainly it applies to the prosody: tensed between a persistent inkling of regularity and the transience of actually regular meters, it demands decision, which is to say, a more ample and less secure kind of interpretation than usually attends the metrical. Hopkins’s innovation was to hear in this verse a new set of possibilities for how to write a line, one which would neither conform too neatly to established ideas of how English lines should sound nor diverge from them into lawlessness. But he was also sedulous with the tension in Samson’s verse, maintaining instead of resolving it, placing its continual suspension of rhythmic completion, as of sense in a periodic sentence, at the center of his account. In hope, a kind of fiction, he allowed himself to be led a little onward.

1 The Collected Works of Gerard Manley Hopkins, ed. Lesley Higgins and Michael F. Suarez, S.J., vol. III, Diaries, Journals, and Notebooks, ed. Lesley Higgins (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015), 484.

2 The Collected Works of Gerard Manley Hopkins, ed. Lesley Higgins and Michael F. Suarez, S.J., vol. I, Correspondence 1852–1881, ed. R.K.R. Thornton and Catherine Phillips (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013), 318.

3 Gerard Manley Hopkins, The Major Works, ed. Catherine Phillips (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002), 107.

4 Hopkins, The Major Works, 132.

5 The Major Works, 107.

6 Correspondence 1852–1881, 281.

7 Correspondence 1852–1881, 318. Kerrigan, Rumrich, and Fallon refer to both of these letters in their introduction to Samon Agonistes. See The Complete Poetry and Essential Prose of John Milton, ed. William Kerrigan, John Rumrich, and Stephen M. Fallon (New York: Modern Library, 2007), 701.

8 “I should never have discovered this, but am sure that you are right, & that the discovery is extraordinary. I have always admire & wondered at those choruses. You must be gifted with an extraordinarily delicate ear.” Correspondence 1852–1881, 321.

9# Robert Bridges, Milton’s Prosody (London: Henry Frowde, 1901), 34; emphasis added.

10 John Milton, The Complete Shorter Poems, ed. John Carey (New York: Routledge, 2007), 364. All further citations of Samson Agonistes come from this edition and will be cited by line number in the running text.

11 Bridges, Milton’s Prosody, 34.

12 Bridges, 35.

13 Bridges, 35.

14 The last is spoken not by the chorus but by Samson in his “choric” or “lyric” mode.

15 Milton, The Complete Shorter Poems, 356–57.

16 John Leonard, Faithful Labourers: A Reception History of Paradise Lost, 1667–1970, vol. 1, Style and Genre (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013), 154.

17 Helen Vendler, The Breaking of Style: Hopkins, Heaney, Graham (Cambridge: Harvard University Press: 1995), 9–10.

18 Seamus Heaney, Preoccupations: Selected Prose, 1968-1978 (New York: Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 1980), 95.

19 Vendler, The Breaking of Style, 20.

20 Correspondence 1852–1881, 306.

21 Correspondence 1852–1881, 314

22 In “Milton II,” Eliot finds in Milton’s periods “the wave-length of [his] verse,” the signature of a poet capable of giving “a perfect and unique pattern to every paragraph, such that the full beauty of the line is found in its context” and of working “in larger musical units than any other poet.” These units communicate a “peculiar feeling, almost a physical sensation of a breathless leap” singular to Milton, one unobtainable in rhymed verse and buttressed by a “line structure [that] is the minimum necessary to provide a counter-pattern to the period structure.” The Complete Prose of T.S. Eliot: The Critical Edition, ed. Ronald Schuchard, vol. 5, Tradition and Orthodoxy, 1934–1939, ed. Iman Javadi, Ronald Schuchard, and Jayme Stayer (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2017), 157.

23 Stanley Fish, How Milton Works (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2001), 430.

24 John Creaser, “‘Service Is Perfect Freedom’: Paradox and Prosodic Style in Paradise Lost,” The Review of English Studies, New Series, Vol. 58, no. 235 (Jun., 2007): 313. John Creaser, “The Line in Paradise Lost,” in The Cambridge Companion to Paradise Lost, ed. Louis Schwartz (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014), 91.

25 Bridges, Milton’s Prosody, 33.

26 Janel Mueller, “Just Measures? Versification in Samons Agonistes,” in Milton Studies, no. 33 (1997): 47–82.

27 Mueller, 76.

28 Fish, How Milton Works, 438.

29 Gordon Teskey, Delerious Milton (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2006),184–85

30 Fish, How Milton Works, 6; 30.

31 Fish, 31.